08 September 2010
EA-18G Growler (photo : Navytimes)
WASHINGTON has given the go-ahead for Australia to buy the EA-18G "Growler" electronic warfare aircraft.
It is the most advanced warplane of its type in the world, defence industry sources said yesterday.
The Australian understands the decision was made about a fortnight ago by the US Technology, Transfer, Security Assistance, Review Board (TTSARB), a decision that could pave the way for the first foreign military sale of the Growler, defence sources said.
TTSARB rules on potential foreign sales of sensitive high-end US military equipment. Its decision follows last year's request by the Rudd government to have 12 F/A-18F Super Hornets, half a 24-plane order for the RAAF, configured on Boeing's assembly line for a possible Growler upgrade.
Australia bought 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets -- described by its maker as the world's best multi-role fighter -- in a $6 billion deal to acquire a "bridging capability" to cover the retirement of its ageing fleet of F-111 strike aircraft.
The Super Hornet is regarded as a 4.5 generation aircraft ahead of a $16bn order for a so-called fifth-generation aircraft, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.